There was a hearty response to the recently concluded Westport Restaurant Weeks, as the event serving up discounted deals on meals expanded to two weeks for the first time the year, with about 25 local eateries participating in the promotion.
The celebration of Westport's culinary community, organized by the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce, took place Sept. 29 through Oct. 12.
At Rive Bistro, patrons couldn't get enough of the Rainbow Trout Almondine or the Lamb Ragu over pasta, two favorites served as part of the special restaurant week menu, according to chef and owner, Eric Sierra, formerly the chef at Il Palio in Shelton.
The restaurant, located on Riverside Avenue, opened last March 6 and "business is going well," said Sierra, who added he hopes the exposure during restaurant weeks will help boost business even more.
Monika Cser, office manager at the riverfront bistro, said customers taking part in restaurant week were given questionnaires to fill out. "We just asked how they heard about our place and if they wanted to be added to our email list," she said.
She said there was some "added traffic" during the promotion, adding, "I guess you can say it offered some worthwhile exposure," she added.
He said the restaurant saw new customers, some who returned "multiple times" for lunch and dinner.
Evans said customers like to take advantage of a deal -- the special prix-fixe menus -- and loved what was being offered on their menu.
The special menus included multi-courses for either lunch or dinner at a few different price points. Some restaurants offered lunch for $10, others for $15 and dinners were $20.
There was also a "great turnout" at the Terrain Garden Cafe, according to Anthony Kesselmark, the general manager.
"We saw some new customers, and some regulars, as well," he said. He said the benefits in taking part in restaurant week are many, in particular "it brings in new faces" and it "makes people aware that we are here."
He said that, most importantly, it gives people a chance to "try our food and try new options at a discount."
The cafe, at 561 Post Road, is an organic and farm-to-table restaurant, he said, adding that type of eatery is becoming more popular.